South Side Morning 5: The Prodigal Son Returns

1. Atlanta coming to town means our beautiful prodigal son is returning home to his kingdom. Gordon Beckham is back off the disabled list this week after absence due to a hamstring strain that persisted so long it would make Alex Avila blush. Missing five weeks means he hasn’t had the time nor the opportunity to get around to having his typical mid-season swoon, so he’s currently sporting what would be the best OPS of his career, and Braves fans seem to be…happy (?) about his return.

If you’re struggling to put the Beckham era in appropriate context, take note that Brett Lawrie has streaked, slumped and streaked again to a .256/.322/.430 line, which, if it holds, would be the best production the Sox have gotten from their regular second baseman since Alexei Ramirez‘s rookie year in 2008. This didn’t set out  to be an ode to Lawrie, we just got here by talking about Beckham.

2. Todd Frazier, who has admittedly struggled to do anything besides hit home runs this season, will finally be placed in a position to succeed as he defends his Home Run Derby title on Monday.

Simple statistical studies of post-Home Run Derby performance have found small but statistically significant drops in power production afterward, but that can likely be chalked up to power production being at a crest for players to get selected for the Derby in the first place.

Getting your approach jacked up from one day of gunning for home runs is obviously a case-by-case malady, and Frazier can hardly offer any assurance given that he had a stunningly awful second half last year after winning. There’s not really a positive note to glom onto this, even though this feels like the spot where it would come.

3. An actual positive note is Spencer Adams‘ injury is at least being treated initially as mild.

He remains tradeable and we do not need to alter our valuation of him as a prospect so long as the injury isn’t hugely serious, and it does not appear to be, so that’s good for everyone. Celebrating that a guy is not horribly injured just so he can remain viable trade bait is grotesque, but there’s no undoing the framing of this paragraph at this point. On to the next!

4. With their top prospect still in the minors being currently groomed for an immediate role in the bullpen, and Adams spending the next week elevating his ankle and also not really missing bats all season, it’s no surprise that the White Sox did not make any impact on BP’s midseason top-50 prospect list.

It would certainly be nicer if new, shiny prospect Zack Collins was not striking out in half of his Rookie League plate appearances to start, but he has a big hitch in his swing and that’s going to be a feature throughout his path through the system. At least he’s still catching!

You won’t see his name on the prospect lists, but this kinda lumbering DH for the Charlotte Knights put a charge into one Thursday night.

5. Robin Ventura is sounding awfully smug these days about his team’s relative turnaround. Scott Merkin wrote:

“When manager Robin Ventura was asked postgame if he could see this run coming, he replied, ‘Of course.’

‘You’re seeing some guys grind through some stuff. The pitching’s been great. Offensively, we’ve been getting it,’ he said. ‘Everybody seems to be contributing in one way or another, and it’s nice. We’re playing better baseball, it’s that simple. We’re playing all-around better baseball.'”

Plenty of managers can boast leading their teams to great seasons, but only Ventura can stake claim to overseeing a hot and focused start, a horrifying collapse, and a mild recovery to mediocrity. The Sox have six-straight games on tap against last-place teams, so they could very easily push their series victory streak to seven without another inexplicable dive into total incompetence, which, of course, is always on the menu.


Lead Image Credit: Mike Dinovo // USA Today Sports Images


Peace and safety to everyone.

Related Articles

Leave a comment

Use your Baseball Prospectus username